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 Posted: Thu Mar 8th, 2007 03:41 pm
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LeesuhBee
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Hi everyone,

Thinking of investing in some playwriting software; I was wondering what you recommend? I seem to be seeing Final Draft 7 as I was browsing, but its main focus seems screen writing?

Thanks for you input!

Lisa B

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 Posted: Fri Mar 9th, 2007 05:36 am
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Swann1719
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Hi Lisa - FinalDraft is quickly becoming industry standard for everything including plays.  I have version 7 and it does have three different versions of stage play formatting.  To tell you the truth, I don't love it for plays and tend to format myself but I do really like it for tv scripts where formatting is very counterintuitive.

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 Posted: Sun Mar 11th, 2007 08:47 am
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Sam Stone
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Lisa,

EVERYONE has Word and most don't have Final Draft.  I have friends using Final Draft and their opinion(s) vary.  I don't like the way it inserts the character's name after every time you include blocking instructions and also dislike the business of carrying a character's lines over to the next page (I like to have all of a character's line on the same page, even if I have to create a page break half-way down the page - rare.)

Personally, I find that I can use "Styles" and the "Clipboard" in MSWord to create anything Final Draft can, itworks just as well, and anyone can read it.

Also, quite often, theatres announce they will accept e-mailed scripts in Word or PDF only, so if you're going to buy Final Draft, you should also consider buying Adobe Acrobat (the generator program - not the reader) so you can send scripts out in PDF.

If you need instruction on formatting scripts in Word, let me know.

Best o'luck.

Sam

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 Posted: Sun Mar 11th, 2007 06:02 pm
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Jack
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Lisa,

I too have Work and don't have 'Draft'... But I do use ScriptSmartGold that the BBC make available in it's Writersroom.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom

I'm not going to pretend that it's perfect, but for free... It's one hell of a resource.

Some people hate it, I can't say that I love it, but I respect a great deal - I'd even make it a cup of tea in the morning.

But it did/does make me think a great deal about how I format my work and what I actually insert in the way of unwanted directions.

Have a play with it for 24 hours...

After all, it's not going to cost you anything.

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 Posted: Tue Mar 13th, 2007 01:00 pm
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muncy
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Jack, can I take you up on your offer of help on ScriptSmartGold.

It's working fine for me but I want to make some modifications to the style. For example the characters names are set to regular all caps but I want them to be bold and not all caps.

I go into styles and formatting, right click STAGE NAME and click Modify. I can then change the format to how I want it and it works perfectly in the document I am editing. When I am finished and exit as well as saving the document I have been working on I am asked if I want to save the changes to scriptsmartgold.dot and I say Yes, thinking that the next time I load the template the styles will be set to how I want them. Alas no, they go back to how they were originally.

Am I doing something silly or is it impossible to change the styles in the template?

Any help appreciated.

David

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 Posted: Tue Mar 13th, 2007 01:21 pm
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spiny norman
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"I like to have all of a character's line on the same page, even if I have to create a page break half-way down the page - rare."

sam, i feel the same way!  so you're not the only crazy person in the world!

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 Posted: Tue Mar 13th, 2007 02:37 pm
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Sam Stone
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Spiney,

Several years ago I learned, in Word, to simply highlight the character, his/her lines and blocking in one block, then format that group of paragraphs using "Paragraph" to "Keep lines together" and "Keep with next."  The entire block jumps to the next page without inserting a page break or additional lines... that way, if you do any rewriting, there isn't an unnecessary page break or extra lines where you don't like them.  "Styles" lets you choose a paragraph indentation for blocking or the character's name - nice thing is that a backspace takes you back to "Justified left."

You can put as many as twelve items on the Word "Clipboard" and place it wherever on the workspace is comfortable, so that all you have to do is click once and your character's name appears with the next line cued for their spoken words.

Truth is that Word is truly easy to format.  When I'm ready to send it to someone, I create a PDF for transmittal unless I want them to be able to edit what I'm sending.

Here's hoping everyone has the same success with their chosen program as I have with Word.

Sam

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 Posted: Tue Mar 13th, 2007 04:29 pm
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LeesuhBee
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Sam,

Aha! This is all very helpful. 

The thing that I have NOT been able to figure out is numbering. For my full length play I want to number it according to the Sam French guidelines, with act#-scene#-page# on the upper right hand corner. I can figure out how to put it in the corner, but for the life of me can't figure out how to have the page numbers continue consecutively without being effected by the section or chapter breaks! I even did the MS Word header and footer tutorial to no avail. Is there a trick? I feel I must be missing something!

- lisa b

 

 

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 Posted: Tue Mar 13th, 2007 04:59 pm
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in media res
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LeesuBee

I have not seen anyone submit a script with the Samuel French formatting. I have never used it. I do not know of anyone who uses it.

Unless there is a driving reason for you to use it, why bother? Starting with the first page of the actual script not numbered and starting to number with page 2 of the script is just fine.

I know of no one who expects it or requires it in the manuscript form.

best,

in media res

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 Posted: Tue Mar 13th, 2007 05:16 pm
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LeesuhBee
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In Media Res,

Yes, it seems pretty unusual. I am applying to a grad program for playwriting and they specifically asked for the Sam French format.

:)

lisa b

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 Posted: Tue Mar 13th, 2007 07:30 pm
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Sam Stone
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Page Numbering:

While in the header or footer - I never use the page numbering option in the header/footer.

Stay in the Header or footer (as you wish), bring down "Insert" from the top line and choose page numbering from there.

Remember that you can use the "Format" option on the page numbering box to start your numbering at 0 (zero) in order to begin with 1 on the page following your title page.

For more info on even more whacko stuff in Word, you may write me directly at ratsss@juno.com.  Us techies are like that... we ask, "what happens if I do this..."

Sam

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 Posted: Thu Nov 13th, 2008 10:26 am
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orionr
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This is kind of an old thread, but there's a free online playwriting tool people might be interested in -

Zhura
http://www.zhura.com

They have free online scriptwriting software and include a GREAT Stage Play format.  You can even print out directly from their site using PDF and get your friends to collaborate with you.  Check it out if you don't have Final Draft... or if you want to work with a buddy.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 14th, 2008 09:30 am
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solarcirclegirl
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I didn't think you had to buy Acrobat seperately. The reader is available online and I use Final Draft and haven't ever had a problem with converting the final draft file into a pdf by just saving it as a pdf file instead of a final draft file. I might be wrong. I'm not the most computer savvy.

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 Posted: Mon Nov 24th, 2008 02:40 pm
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Celsun
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I have used them all, and my favorite (though it may not be common or accepted by the industry) is Celtx. It's the easiest to use and I couldn't think of how to improve it. It's that good. The best part for me is that it's free to download.
http://celtx.com/

I'm living in Buenos Aires, and I know many playwrights here who use it. I wonder if there's anybody on this forum using it.

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 Posted: Fri Apr 9th, 2010 08:00 pm
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peggys
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Is there been anything that's come out since the last reply about the playwrighting program thing??
I'm getting old, just turned 60 and my brain's gone back 13billion yrs to primordial soup, it seems.  I started at 50-what was I thinking?  I LOVE it!
Any body got something cheap or free that you still stand by?
Thanks!!
peggy

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 Posted: Sat Apr 10th, 2010 04:38 am
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muncy
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Hi Peggy

I echo the previous post. I use Celtx all the time and cannot recommend it highly enough.

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 Posted: Sat Apr 10th, 2010 10:33 am
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peggys
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Thanks!  Do you have to be online to work on your play? It's a little confusing.

 I went and tried to figure it out but-not good at moving through their forums.

Appreciate the help!
peggy

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 Posted: Sat Apr 10th, 2010 10:42 am
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muncy
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You don't have to be on line. Celtx offer a collaboration service so you can upload your script and work on it with others but there is no need to do that if you don't want to.

You can download the software from here http://celtx.com/download.html

It's free so you have nothing to lose!

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 Posted: Sat Apr 10th, 2010 10:51 am
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peggys
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Again, Thanks.  You are the cat's meow, as they used to say!
p

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 Posted: Mon Aug 6th, 2012 12:51 pm
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spirit bear
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I have fallen in love with the Celtex program! The one thing that does drive me nuts with it is when I want to have a parenthetical direction with-in the dialog. Haven't found a way to customize that particular formatting. But I do love its versatility, and over all ease of use. One of the best free programs out there!

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 Posted: Mon Aug 6th, 2012 12:55 pm
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Paddy
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I just select the dialogue and do those - however I've only worked in Celtix with the screen writing....don't see why it wouldn't work in the play writing.

Welcome

Paddy

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 Posted: Mon Aug 6th, 2012 01:17 pm
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spirit bear
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Thanks I'll give it a try. If it works great if not go back to the way I was doing it.

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 Posted: Mon Aug 6th, 2012 01:20 pm
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Paddy
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Also, just in case you need to know...the problem comes when you want to submit a play to someone who doesn't use Celtx. Then you go to print it, and use the option to save it as a PDF. Problem is, it saves the formatting, but doesn't keep the dialogue with the character.

Paddy

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 Posted: Mon Aug 6th, 2012 01:29 pm
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spirit bear
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Interesting as I've been saving it in it's native file format, as well as PDF and hadn't noticed it messing with the dialog formatting.

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 Posted: Tue Dec 10th, 2013 09:10 pm
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Gary
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Hi Sam

Although I've been a director, Artistic Director and actor for many years I just started working on a play that's been bouncing around for a bit.  So I'm pretty new to the actual writing end of things.  I saw your post and would love a bit of the advice you offered regarding using styles and clipboard in Word to format the script.  Thanks Gary

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 Posted: Thu Dec 12th, 2013 06:02 am
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in media res
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Gary,

Playwrights can spend many dollars on how to write plays.

But…

I just format my own with playwriting format on on Microsoft Word for my plays.

Always has worked fine.


Sample: NAMES CENTERED. DIALOGUE FLUSH LEFT.

GEORGE
How are things, Harry?

PATRICK
Going great, Pal.

CENTERED NAME
Dialogue that follows always seems to work.

No software program will ever help you write your play.


Software programs may help you in a Screenplay format, as there are pagination structures that equal TiME in a movie script. And Final Draft and other make millions in the promise of success in those areas of dramatic writing.

But good old Aristotelian structure with heart and soul still seems to work in plays. No matter the length of the play.

So, pick up The Poetics by Aristotle and study the Greek plays and Shakespeare.

John Logan, in an interview I once read, said he was not getting what he wanted from Northwestern University, one of the premier Theatre Schools in America. He basically then, concurrently, went and taught himself by reading Shakespeare and other great plays. (From an article I read.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Logan_(writer)

Mind you, I can not speak for the guy, but if you look at his credits, he really knows what he is doing. And I don't see any software programs in any of his Google searches.

If you want art by the numbers, go buy a Venus Paradise Coloring Set.

Best,

IMR

P.S. My Centering of the NAME and then FLUSH LEFT of the dialogue does not translate to this site with my post. But you will figure it out. It is standard stuff.

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 Posted: Mon Dec 16th, 2013 07:19 pm
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Gary
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Thanks so much for getting back. I'll try this.

Indeed through my directing and acting in many Shakespearean and many Greek plays I've found that simply working with them deeply influences the quality of my work/awareness. Not only the language/poetry of everything I approach but also the important relationship character & circumstance play as primary drivers of dialogue.

Thanks for your help! Gary

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